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Between History and Myth – Stories of Harald Fairhair and the Founding of the State - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Between History and Myth: Stories of Harald Fairhair and the Founding of the State

Bruce Lincoln


All groups tell stories about their beginnings. Such tales are oft-repeated, finely wrought, and usually much beloved. Among those institutions most in need of an impressive creation account is the state: it’s one of the primary ways states attempt to legitimate themselves. But such founding narratives invite revisionist retellings that modify details of the story in ways that undercut, ironize, and even ridicule the state’s ideal self-representation. Medieval accounts of how Norway was unified by its first king provide a lively, revealing, and wonderfully entertaining example of this process. ... More

Keywords: myth, Norway, Harald Fairhair, ninth century, history, medieval Europe, Iceland, king, dissidence, subversion

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780226140926
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2015 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226141084.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Bruce Lincoln, author